Gingivitis is a common and mild form of gum disease (periodontal disease) that causes irritation, redness and swelling (inflammation) of our gingiva, the part of gum around the base of teeth. It is important to take gingivitis seriously and treat it promptly. Gingivitis can lead to much more serious gum disease called periodontitis and tooth loss.
CAUSES OF GINGIVITIS
The most common cause of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene. Good oral health habits, such as brushing at least twice a day, flossing daily and getting regular dental checkups, can help prevent and reverse gingivitis.
SYMPTOMS OF GINGIVITIS
Healthy gums are firm and pale pink and fitted tightly around the teeth. Signs and symptoms of gingivitis include:
- Swollen or puffy gums
- Dusky red or dark red gums
- Gums that bleed easily when you brush or floss
- Bad breath
- Receding gums
- Tender gums
CAUSES OF GINGIVITIS
The most common cause of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene that encourages plaque to form on teeth, causing inflammation of the surrounding gum tissues.
Here is how plaque can lead to gingivitis:
- Plaque forms on teeth- Plaque is an invisible, sticky film composed mainly of bacteria that forms on our teeth when starches and sugars in food interact with bacteria normally found in our mouth. Plaque requires daily removal because it re-forms quickly.
- Plaque turns into tartar- Plaque that stays on our teeth can harden under our gumline into tartar (calculus), which collects bacteria. Tartar makes plaque more difficult to remove, creates a protective shield for bacteria and causes irritation along the gumline.
- Gingiva become inflamed (gingivitis)- The longer that plaque and tartar remain on our teeth, the more they irritate the gingiva, the part of our gum around the base of our teeth, causing inflammation. In time, our gums become swollen and bleed easily. Tooth decay (dental caries) also may result. If not treated, gingivitis can advance to periodontitis and eventual tooth loss.
Gingivitis is common, and anyone can develop it. Factors that can increase risk of gingivitis include:
- Poor oral care habits
- Smoking or chewing tobacco
- Older age
- Dry mouth
- Poor nutrition, including vitamin C deficiency
- Dental restorations that do not fit properly or crooked teeth that are difficult to clean
- Conditions that decrease immunity such as leukemia, HIV/AIDS or cancer treatment
- Certain drugs, such as phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek) for epileptic seizures, and some calcium channel blockers, used for angina, high blood pressure and other conditions
- Hormonal changes, such as those related to pregnancy, menstrual cycle or use of birth control pills
- Medical conditions such as certain viral and fungal infections
COMPLICATIONS OF GINGIVITIS
Untreated gingivitis can progress to gum disease that spreads to underlying tissue and bone (periodontitis), a much more serious condition that can lead to tooth loss.
Chronic gingiva inflammation has been thought to be associated with some systemic diseases such as respiratory disease, diabetes, coronary artery disease, stroke and rheumatoid arthritis. Some research suggests that the bacteria responsible for periodontitis can enter our bloodstream through gum tissue, possibly affecting our heart, lungs and other parts of body.
Trench mouth, also known as necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis (NUG), is a severe form of gingivitis that causes painful, infected, bleeding gums and ulcerations. Trench mouth is rare today in developed nations, though it is common in developing countries that have poor nutrition and poor living conditions.
PREVENTION OF GINGIVITIS
- Good oral hygiene
- Regular dental visits
- Good health practices
HOMOEOPATHIC TREATMENT FOR GINGIVITIS
MERCURIUS SOL - Very useful medicine for inflammation of gums. Given where the gums are inflamed , painful,become purple, swollen and spongy. Useful when toothache is associated with inflammation of gums.Also recommended when gums recede ,bleed and tooth become loose.
KREOSOTUM - Very effective medicine for gingivitis with rapid decay of teeth.Given when gums are inflamed, turned bluish, spongy and bleeding.There is putrid odour and bitter taste in mouth.Recommended when teeth appears dark,crumbly and black spots on teeth.
CARBO VEGETABILIS - Very effective medicine for inflammation of gums with scorbutic gums. Helpful when blood oozes from the gums while cleaning teeth.Useful for retracted gums which bleed easily and is painful while chewing.Very useful for bad smell and sour , bitter taste in mouth.
ALUMEN - Very -very useful medicine for gingivitis with loose teeth.There is swollen, inflamed and spongy gum
LACHESIS - Very useful medicine for inflammation of gums with bluish appearance.There is bad odour and sour peppery taste in mouth.
PHOSPHORUS - Useful medicine for inflammation of gums with bleeding.Given when gums bleeding easilyand is sore behind incisors. Also useful when pain get worse from cold, heat and while eating.
SILICEA - Best medicine for inflammation of gums where the gum is sensitive to cold air and cold water.Given when water tastes badly and vomits after drinking. There is an offensive odour from mouth and the mouth feels dry.
STAPHYSAGRIA - Useful medicine for inflammation of gums with teeth decay. Recommended for pale,swollen gum which bleed easily . There is much salivation.
THUJA OCCIDENTALIS - Useful medicine for inflammation of gums with tooth decay.Suited when teeth decay at the edge of gums ,crumble and turn yellow.